Worley (ASX:WOR) CEO, Andrew Wood
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  • Shareholders of engineering services giant Worley (WOR) were shocked today after the sudden retirement and replacement of CEO Andrew Wood
  • Andrew has been with Worley for 26 years and CEO for seven
  • He will be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Chris Ashton, who has also been with the company for over two decades
  • Chairman John Grill said this is the right time for the leadership change
  • Still, Worley shares have slumped today, currently down over eight per cent and trading for just under $14 each
  • Of course, the share price drop is likely heightened by the Wuhan coronavirus weakening commodity demand worldwide

Engineering services giant Worley (WOR) has slumped today after the sudden retirement and subsequent replacement of CEO Andrew Wood.

Andrew was part of Worley for almost three decades and spent the last seven years of his career at the helm of the company. He will be succeeded by his number two, Chris Ashton, who has been working as Worley’s Chief Operating Officer.

The change in leadership has been kept under wraps by Worley and seems to have taken investors by surprise today. As the market comes to its close for the day, shares in the company are down 8.40 per cent and worth $13.96 each.

Worley Chairman John Grill spoke highly of Andrew’s contribution to the company during his time as CEO.

“Under Andrew’s strong leadership, we successfully restructured Worley to realign our operations through a period of rapid change in the markets we serve, and then doubled the size of the business through the acquisition of the Energy, Chemicals and Resources (ECR) division of Jacobs to create the global leader across Worley’s core market segments,” John said.

Further, he spoke confidently of the Board’s decision in Chris as the new captain.

“After a thorough internal and external search process undertaken as part of our standard succession planning processes, Chris was identified as the successor for the CEO role. This is the right time for new leadership and the Board has confidence in Chris’ experience, commitment and focus,” the Chairman added.

Speaking of his appointment, Chris said he has his work cut out for him in the ever-changing world of energy, chemicals and resources. Further, he has no time to waste as the company prepares for the leadership transition: Chris will take over from Andrew in just three weeks, with Andrew set to resign after a February 24 Board meeting.

But Chris is no newcomer to Worley operations.

A veteran in the company himself, Chris has spent over two decades with Worley. He holds a Degree in Electric and Electronic Engineering from the University of Sunderland in England and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Cranfield School of Management.

“After more than 20 years with Worley, I know the company, its customers and stakeholders well. I am looking forward to visiting offices, fabrication yards, customers, job sites and investors in the very near future,” Chris said.

Andrew will stay on as an advisor to Worley until the end of the 2020 financial year.

The sell-off of Worley shares is likely influenced by a weak energy market as the Wuhan coronavirus weakens Chinese commodity demand. Nevertheless, today’s slump is Worley’s biggest share price drop of the year so far.

WOR by the numbers
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